JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri officials will set aside funds from its $50 million budget to upgrade passive crossings across the state to reduce the likelihood of another collision, similar to the one that occurred a year ago.
Last week, RT&S reported that the NTSB found the design of a grade crossing in Missouri was responsible for the collision between an Amtrak train and a dump truck last year.
Now, KZRG has reported that Missouri state officials have “outlined options for spending the first chunk of $50 million budgeted for railroad crossing improvements.” The Missouri Department of Transportation also released a statement about its Missouri Railroad Safety Crossing Plan.
After a $750,000 study, it suggested that 47 public rail crossings on three tracks (that passenger rail uses) would see changes, which would cost around $18.5 million. The “total closure is recommended at 17 crossings, including the Mendon site where the crash occurred.” The remaining funds from the $50 million would be spent on freight train crossings. There are 27 passive crossings that would also see improvements, which would cost an estimated $700 million, according to spokeswoman, Linda Horn.
Other enhancements to grade crossings would be “flashing light and gate upgrades, new roadway connections, ADA sidewalk enhancements, advanced warning enhancements, crossing realignment, and grade improvements.”
Patrick McKenna, MoDOT Director, underlined the need for passenger safety and the role railroads in Missouri serve, stating that it is “a vital component sustaining and growing the economy in Missouri, but there are more than 1,400 locations in Missouri where roads cross these tracks without warning lights and gates. . . This new historic level of General Revenue approved by the Governor and General Assembly provides an opportunity to focus on the highest priority needs on the three railroad lines that carry passenger rail.”